Vietnamese American Racialization and Ethnic Organizations
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Vietnamese Americans are the children of refugees. While some are middle-class and upwardly mobile, many are not. As an ethnic group, Vietnamese Americans are often grouped, by the mainstream and academics, with other high status and high achieving Asian Americans. In this study, I look at middle-class and upwardly mobile Vietnamese American students and alumni and their voluntary association with a vast network of ethnic organizations. I ask the question, how do these Vietnamese Americans respond to their racialization when their local ethnic resources are not consistent with their racial status? In my analysis, I draw on concepts from literature on segmented assimilation, minority cultures of mobility, and ethnic boundary work. Additionally, I frame my analysis in terms ethnic capital formation, social capital, and cultural frames. I found that Vietnamese Americans collectively responded to racialization via the organization and its programming. Additionally, they constructed and promoted a “cultural frame of indebtedness” to rationalize the discrepancy between their success and the marginalization of their co-ethnics.